Christians often talk about needing to “walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk,” but how often do we take time to define what exactly this means? I imagine many young Christians have a vague concept of needing to “live better somehow” or “make better choices,” but in the end statements such as these tend to fall flat.
Fortunately for us, the Apostle Paul was an astounding teacher and mentor! Last Monday we discussed the importance Paul placed on redeeming the time, but he didn’t leave off there. In the very next couple of verses, he explains exactly what it looks like when a person redeems their time:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
Just as he does throughout the Book of Ephesians, Paul draws a direct, mirror-image contrast between the faithful Christian and the one caught up in frivolous, worldly behavior. The word used for “drunk” here is oinos, which is translated as “riot” in Titus 1:6 and is associated with wild excess in I Peter 4:4. He’s not talking about having a small drink, but of being completely intoxicated with alcohol. In direct comparison, that is how much a believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit… he should be completely filled with the Spirit… so much so that this influences his every thought, word, and deed.
Earlier in Ephesians 5, Paul told us what not to do. He tells us that in order to walk the Christian walk, we must avoid the following characteristics of reckless living:
- Fornication (5:3)
- Uncleanness (5:3)
- Coveteousness (5:3)
- Filthiness (5:3)
- Foolish Talking (5:4)
- Coarse Jesting (5:4)
- Idolatry (5:5)
Do you want to know what a believer’s life should look like? Read the list above again, and ask yourself, “What would the direct, mirror-opposite of this action be?” That is what we should aim for.
Instead of being consumed by drunkenness and rebellion, our lives should be filled with worship and praise.
So the next time you catch yourself telling your fellow believers to “walk the walk,” don’t forget to show them what exactly this looks like.